Courtesy 1&1 Internet

The Internet has reshaped advertising and marketing irreversibly. Any small-business owner or contractor can now target and message a specific demographic or age group out there on the Web. But, as many a home improvement contractor must wonder, does such specialized and ultra-lead-driven advertising really work?

For instance, does "dynamic retargeting" — or adjusting the content of an ad based on an Internet user's viewing habits — actually do what it's supposed to do? Surprisingly, it may not be as effective as proponents might have us believe. Customers' shopping habits, it seems, change over time, sometimes within minutes. It's proven measurably more effective to cut a broad swath at first than an overly narrow one.

In other words, if a customer is online and is contemplating new siding, you're better off advertising your company's brand and skills over a specific product you sell. Just because they were on a fiber-cement siding manufacturer's site earlier doesn't mean that a picture of that siding product will seal the deal.

This is why a holistic mix of medium and message will more likley produce the kind of results you want to see from your marketing and advertising investment.

Just because you advertise online doesn't mean you should give up on traditional forms of advertising. Signs, for example, are often an important part of marketing for home improvement contractors. They do more than just point out the location for subcontractors and delivery drivers. They attract attention to your brand and can create offline-online connections at the same time.

Check out how these two contractors got creative with their signs.

As you can see, there are numerous ways to get your message out and engage prospects in this day and age. Keep in mind that just because something is the latest, greatest thing doesn't mean it will work, or keep on working.

Our guess is that some contractors "crack the code" on mix, medium, message, and platform, and that sharing with others would improve outcomes for everybody. What types of advertising do you find more effective: online or traditional? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.